Black architect William E. Brazley’s ‘Extraordinary’ collection is for sale – and the goddess of the estate is on it

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OLYMPIA FIELDS — Lynn McDaniel is out of focus as she slams down the stairs of architect William E. Brazley’s 7,000-square-foot mansion in her cheetah-print shoes.

McDaniel’s glasses, fingernails and lips are all red as she walks into a living room decorated with cream, plush rugs and 80s furniture. Hanging and leaning against the walls in another room are batteries of framed artwork by Jonathan Green, Jackson Collins and Lee White. A showcase contains Tiffany glasses.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Various works of art, furniture, artifacts and more are for sale at the Olympia Fields, IL estate of William E. and Peggy Brazley.

For 13 years, McDaniel and her husband, Ty McDaniel, operated the An Orange Moon vintage boutique in Wicker Park and liquidated the estates of Chicago icons.

Nicknamed the Goddess of Domain Sales, McDaniel and her husband – the God of Domain Sales – worked with the family of Associated Negro Press founder Claude Barnett and his wife, actress Etta Moten Barnett . They sold artwork belonging to the late Ebony Magazine editor Lerone Bennett and managed the estate of Olympian Jesse Owens.

The McDaniels’ latest work took them to the home of Brazley, a giant of black architecture, and his wife, Peggy Brazley, in the southern suburb of Olympia Fields.

The Brazley Family Estate Sale is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 5-7. McDaniel will release the home address 24 hours before the sale begins, she said. Items are available on a first come, first served basis.

As guests walk from room to room, they’ll learn about the Brazley family’s life story through their belongings, McDaniel said. Everyone has a story; it’s the McDaniels’ job to say so, she said.

“There are a lot of families around Chicago that nobody knows about,” McDaniels said. “It is important for us to tell this story because it is a lesson to learn, not only for us but, I hope, for the world. It is an honor and a privilege to enter the homes and lives of these wonderful people.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Olympia Fields, IL estate of William E. and Peggy Brazley.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Various works of art, furniture, artifacts and more for sale at the Olympia Fields, IL estate of William E. and Peggy Brazley.

“They never gave up”

The Brazley family “broke down barriers,” McDaniel said.

Prior to William Brazley’s death in 2008, he owned William Brazley and Associates, a minority-owned architectural firm in Matteson, Illinois. He has worked at Chicago State University’s Convocation Center and Air France and Lufthansa airline facilities at O’Hare International Airport.

Brazley was also former Mayor Harold Washington’s financial campaign manager. In the late 1990s, he and a friend desegregated Olympia Fields Country Club, becoming its first black members.

Brazley’s wife, Peggy, handled the operations, McDaniel said. She’s alive.

“They never gave up. They kept going,” McDaniel said. “They grew up and they brought other people with them for the ride. They made a name for themselves in history. Mr. Brazley will forever be known as the extraordinary architect. And don’t sleep on Peggy, because behind every great man hides a queen.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A photo of the late Mayor Harold Washington and William E. Brazley sits next to a model of the Olympia Fields, IL Brazley estate.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Mayor Harold Washington and other buttons on display at the Olympia Fields, IL estate of William E. and Peggy Brazley.

Before the McDaniels get to work with a “great little team,” sorting through cases, learning a family’s history, and arranging items for sale, McDaniel does what she calls “fishing.”

“I inhale my breath, then slowly exhale,” McDaniel said. “The more I hold my breath, the more beautiful it is. I’m a little dizzy.

Ty McDaniel is an expert in art, books and photography, McDaniel said. She deals with antiques. Together, they “feel the vibe” of the house to create a narrative before the sale.

“We like to call ourselves cultural anthropologists because we step into a realm and we create a story that’s in the house so we can see all of that life,” McDaniel said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Estate Sale Goddess, aka Lynn McDaniel, poses for a portrait at Olympia Fields, Illinois estate of William E. and Peggy Brazley.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Various works of art, furniture, artifacts and more are for sale.

The August estate sale will be one for the books, McDaniel said.

The Brazley house has an overwhelming amount of art in its seven rooms, and there are vintage handbags, watches and signed memorabilia from famous names like Peal Bailey to account for.

There’s always a soundtrack played during sales to convey the essence of the house, McDaniel said. The music of jazz musician John Coltrane will guide guests to the Brazley Sale.

As long as families continue to trust the McDaniels with their loved ones’ belongings, there will be more sales in the days to come, McDaniel said.

She and her husband are not stopping their work any time soon.

“We want to continue doing this for the rest of our lives,” McDaniel said. “It is our calling. You have to help people. »

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

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